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Working through COVID-19: District 4 employee Stephanie Marek made customer service her top priority

July 14, 2020 08:00 AM
By: Michael Taluto

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As COVID-19 began spreading across Pennsylvania, changes happened quickly. Stephanie Marek, Permit Supervisor in District 4, went above and beyond the call of duty to make things work for our customers in northeastern PA.

Nothing of this nature has ever occurred during Stephanie's career.

"Honestly, there was a time way back when that the weather was so terrible that the entire District Office was shut down for the day," she said. "Shutting down the District Office was unheard of back then. Even so, I had to come into the District Office to take care of issuing hauling permits for our customers."

Fast forward to March of 2020 and this was not the case. As many employees across the Commonwealth ventured into teleworking, Marek and her staff were able to do the same. 

Once home, Stephanie reached out to every customer she knew and dealt with on a regular basis. Many phone calls later – and with the help of Tom Shelanskey of the District IT Unit – they were able to route faxes from the Permit Unit fax machine directly into Marek's email. "It was wonderful to know that my customers wouldn't miss a beat," she said.

"From the beginning – since many of my customers are truck drivers and are out on the road – I gave them my personal cell phone number as a fax for them wasn't an option," Marek explained. "They were able to take a photo of the permit application and send it to my phone so that I could issue a permit. The customers were so appreciative of this service."

The customers were also very happy to know that they didn't have to leave their offices and drive to the District Office to have a permit issued, keeping them socially distant and safe.

"They were pleased that we were still able to issue permits and mail in their required payment," she said. "Many customers have called and thanked us for making things so easy during the telework transition. They asked if we can keep these processes permanent, as it saves them time and money by not traveling to the District Office to obtain a permit."

Stephanie Marek is the District 4 Clerical Supervisor of the Special Hauling Permits Unit. She has been with the Department for 26+ years – all within the Permits Unit. Stephanie and her husband of 22 years, Chris, have two children.

"Teleworking had its challenges in the beginning," Marek said. "With my husband working from home and my college student going to school virtually, we all had to find our niche to make sure it all worked."

Click here for more stories about PennDOT's operations during COVID-19. 

Visit our Coronavirus page for information about our response to COVID-19.